Primate Behaviour and Ecology - SE580

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Spring
View Timetable
6 15 (7.5) DR B Wheeler


Prerequisite: SE302 or equivalent





This module introduces students to the discipline of behavioural ecology, with particular reference to non-human primates. The module looks at the patterns and principles that can be generalised from the variation in behaviour and ecology across primate species. Set within an evolutionary behavioural-ecological framework, this module combines established findings with the latest research. It emphasises the importance of direct observations of primate behaviour and the use of theoretical models with which to make sense of these data. The module covers social and reproductive behaviour within primate groups, the nature and evolution of primate societies, and cognition and communication, as well as interactions between primates and their environments: primates as foragers, predators and prey. The module will make particular use of multi-media technology to allow students to see and hear primates in their natural habitats.


This module appears in:

Contact hours



BSc Anthropology
BSc Biological Anthropology
BSc Wildlife Conservation

Method of assessment

Exam 80%; Coursework 20%
Multiple Choice Questions via Moodle (20%)

Indicative reading

Campbell et al. (2010) Primates in Perspective. 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford
Dolhinow & Fuentes (1999) The Nonhuman Primates. Mayfield, London.
Fleagle (2013) Primate Adaptations and Evolution, 3rd Edition, Academic Press, San Diego.
Krebs, Davies & West (2012) Introduction to Behavioural Ecology 4th Edition, Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester.
Richard (1985) Primates in Nature. W.H.Freeman, London.
Strier (2011) Primate Behavioral Ecology. 4th Edition, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

8.1 Have a good knowledge of evolutionary theory as it applies to primate behaviour.
8.2 Understand the ways primates interact with one another and their environments.
8.3 Have a detailed understanding of the patterns and principles that account for the variation in ecology and behaviour of primates.
8.4 Be able to provide examples from a wide range of species to illustrate these patterns.

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